A deal where Time Warner Cable serves as a sales rep for Verizon's FiOS service played at least a minor role in boosting the cable operator's ad sales near the end of 2010. TWC said its sales rose 18% in the fourth quarter, stripping out political revenues.
Total dollars with political money included came in at $269 million, the most ever for a fourth quarter. About 35% ($95 million) of that came from just the auto and media categories. Political accounted for about 16%.
TWC has been selling regional spots on behalf of Verizon in the New York, Los Angeles and Dallas markets. The cabler receives a percentage of the revenues under the recent deal. TWC could also benefit this year as NCC Media, a cable rep firm that it partly owns, begins selling DirecTV inventory in several markets.
"We expect the FiOS deal and others like it will increasingly contribute to ad revenues in 2011," said TWC COO Robert Marcus on an earnings call.
Marcus said the company anticipates that despite a lack of heavy political advertising this year, ad dollars will go up.
For the full year 2010, the company posted a 26% increase in ad sales to $881 million. Dropping political dollars, the increase was 18%. Ad dollars account for about 5% of TWC total revenues, which were $18.9 billion in 2010.
In the fourth quarter, TWC lost 141,000 video subscribers and now has 12.3 million.
The bulk of the company's revenues come from its traditional TV supplier business -- which generated $11 billion in 2010, up 2%. Total company revenues increased 6%, helped by a 10% increase in broadband-subscriber dollars.